Sun Exposure, Beauty, and Your Health
- Posted on: Feb 15 2018
The evidence that points to the dangers of sun exposure is very clear and continues to mount with new research data. Because medical professionals routinely see how health conditions like skin cancer can ravage a person’s general health and quality of life, it is difficult not to be surprised by the continual popularity of sunbathing.
From the perspective of the average person, we can see how the constant reminders about the necessity for sun protection and the use of sunscreen and protective cosmetics can get old. We can see the evidence of this mindset when patients come into the office with a beautiful, glowing tan. Because we are approaching the season of travel and sitting by the pool or ocean, we’re at it again. This time, though, we’re going to assume you know that the time you spend under the sun increases your risk of skin cancer. We’re going to assume you also know that skin cancer can cause tissue deformity and, in the worst-case scenario, death. Instead of discussing that matter, we want to talk about the beauty aspect of sunbathing.
What Causes a Tan?
For ages, we have been enamored by the rich tone of tanned skin. Rarely do we stop to contemplate what has to happen to achieve that look for ourselves.
When you sit beneath the sun, ultraviolet rays, which are radiation, penetrate the uppermost layer of tissue called the epidermis. This radiation passes right through that layer and lands within the dermis, the middle layer of tissue. On an important side note, it is in the dermis where collagen and elastin are made and where they sit to support beautiful skin. In the dermis, ultraviolet radiation gets absorbed by skin cells and causes immediate damage. In response to this damage, melanin is produced. This chemical is supposed to protect the epidermis from further damage. How interesting is it that the melanin that is supposed to protect is the same thing that makes for a great tan! It is this process that lies behind the statement that a tan is an indication of damaged skin.
Is a Tan All the Beautiful?
Connecting the dots between a tan (sun damage) and the breakdown of collagen and elastin (necessary for smooth, radiant skin), and then to signs of aging like mottled discoloration, looseness, and wrinkles, we see even more reason to stay out of the sun more often than not. And, of course, there’s that benefit of a greatly reduced risk of skin cancer.
Get clear information about your skin’s health and how to maintain it. Schedule a pre-summer skin check with Dr. Hussain, also a leading Mohs surgeon in the UK. Call 07580 411 350.